In his native Iraq, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Al-Saidi was a celebrated economist who had earned the notable distinction of “Professor of the Year” for his academic achievements at the Baghdad-based Middle Technical University. A prolific scholar whose research focuses on economic development and food security, Dr. Al-Saidi had produced over a dozen academic papers, several textbooks, and tens of articles appearing in Iraqi newspapers. But at the height of the war in Iraq, the situation in his home country became too dangerous, and he was forced to flee to Jordan in 2009. An IIE-SRF fellowship award in 2010 enabled Dr. Al-Saidi to resume his academic work at the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT)’s King Talal School of Business Technology. This initial fellowship planted the seeds for a lasting collaboration between PSUT and Dr. Al-Saidi, who remained at PSUT for a second year with IIE-SRF support. Recognizing his talent in the field of economics, as well as his dedication to his students and colleagues within the university, PSUT later extended an offer of full-time employment. Today, the IIE-SRF alumnus is thriving in his role as Dean of Admission and Registration.
“IIE-SRF rescued me from the difficult conditions that I faced in Iraq due to the unstable security situation, which started post-2003 and escalated in 2006. It provided me the opportunity to introduce my academic experience to universities, particularly the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, one of the best universities in Jordan. PSUT has embraced me and treated me as one of its own. As a result, I feel like I am Jordanian. The university appreciates my academic excellence, and it has supported me by promoting me to high-level administrative positions. It is truly a prestigious university in terms of its education, students, and standards,” says Dr. Al-Saidi.
PSUT has been an important IIE-SRF partner since 2008, offering haven to five Iraqi scholars in the fields of economics, engineering, and Arabic language and literature. The university has also hosted IIE-SRF’s Live Lectures project since 2013. Through this initiative, IIE-SRF scholars from Iraq are supported to deliver live academic lectures that fill curricular gaps and meet other academic needs at Iraqi universities. During IIE’s delegation visit to Jordan, IIE-SRF and PSUT signed a renewed agreement to support the Live Lectures project.
Dr. Mashhoor Al-Refai, PSUT President, writes, “Princess Sumaya University for Technology and the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund have a long record of joint cooperation, including sponsoring activities to assist academics who are facing difficult circumstances due to wars and disasters in their home countries. The university has benefitted greatly from these academics’ expertise, competency, and commitment, while at the same time providing them with a safe environment in which to continue their work. The university has retained many of these academics, extending their contracts. Among them is Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Al-Saidi, who came to PSUT as a lecturer in 2010 and wasted no time in proving his abilities.”